With time running out before his scheduled execution, a death row inmate remembers when he tried to save someone else's life: a test subject chimpanzee in a bio-research lab.
Two parallel stories unfold in this interactive drama, making the audience decision makers in their outcomes. Will the chimp win his trial and be relocated to a sanctuary? Will the prisoner receive his pardon from the governor? Will the chimp, having learned to speak English, convince his jury that not he alone, but every being unfairly incarcerated deserves their liberty?
Writer/director/actor/puppeteer, Kevin Augustine crafts a challenging, contemporary tale on oppressive systems that intertwine the fates of both human and animal lives. Inspired by the actual David-and-Goliath court case of McDonald’s Corporation V Steel & Morris (a U.K. case where McDonald's filed a libel lawsuit against environmental activists critical of the company), The People Vs Nature follows a court injunction brought against a pharmaceutical conglomerate by one of the very test subject-primates being studied in their lab.
Featuring a time-bending plot spanning 50 years, this production unpacks our cultural relativism that biases some ideas, beliefs and lives over others. Playing a variety of roles including the jury in The People Vs Nature case, a criminal justice student interviewing the prisoner, and actual puppeteers of the chimp, the audience is challenged to reconsider their own value systems and traditions— all filtered through the perspective of captive outsiders in our midst.